Diffusible signal factor (DSF) quorum sensing signal and structurally related molecules enhance the antimicrobial efficacy of antibiotics against some bacterial pathogens.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Extensive use of antibiotics has fostered the emergence of superbugs that are resistant to multidrugs, which becomes a great healthcare and public concern. Previous studies showed that quorum sensing signal DSF (diffusible signal factor) not only modulates bacterial antibiotic resistance through intraspecies signaling, but also affects bacterial antibiotic tolerance through interspecies communication. These findings motivate us to exploit the possibility of using DSF and its structurally related molecules as adjuvants to influence antibiotic susceptibility of bacterial pathogens. RESULTS: In this study, we have demonstrated that DSF signal and its structurally related molecules could be used to induce bacterial antibiotic susceptibility. Exogenous addition of DSF signal (cis-11-methyl-2-dodecenoic acid) and its structural analogues could significantly increase the antibiotic susceptibility of Bacillus cereus, possibly through reducing drug-resistant activity, biofilm formation and bacterial fitness. The synergistic effect of DSF and its structurally related molecules with antibiotics on B. cereus is dosage-dependent. Combination of DSF with gentamicin showed an obviously synergistic effect on B. cereus pathogenicity in an in vitro model. We also found that DSF could increase the antibiotic susceptibility of other bacterial species, including Bacillus thuringiensis, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Neisseria subflava and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. CONCLUSION: The results indicate a promising potential of using DSF and its structurally related molecules as novel adjuvants to conventional antibiotics for treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacterial pathogens.
Project description:There is an increasing appreciation of the polymicrobial nature of many bacterial infections such as those associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) and of the potentially important role for interspecies interactions in influencing both bacterial virulence and response to therapy. Patients with CF are often co-infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other pathogens including Burkholderia cenocepacia and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. These latter bacteria produce signal molecules of the diffusible signal factor (DSF) family, which are cis-2-unsaturated fatty acids. We have previously shown by in vitro studies that DSF from S. maltophilia leads to altered biofilm formation and increased resistance to antibiotics by P. aeruginosa; these responses of P. aeruginosa require the sensor kinase PA1396. Here we show that DSF signals are present in sputum taken from patients with CF. Presence of these DSF signals was correlated with patient colonization by S. maltophilia and/or B. cenocepacia. Analysis of 50 clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa showed that each responded to the presence of synthetic DSF by increased antibiotic resistance and these strains demonstrated little sequence variation in the PA1396 gene. In animal experiments using CF transmembrane conductance regulator knockout mice, the presence of DSF promoted P. aeruginosa persistence. Furthermore, antibiotic resistance of P. aeruginosa biofilms grown on human airway epithelial cells was enhanced in the presence of DSF. Taken together, these data provide substantial evidence that interspecies DSF-mediated bacterial interactions occur in the CF lung and may influence the efficacy of antibiotic treatment, particularly for chronic infections involving persistence of bacteria.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a significant opportunistic pathogen, can participate in inter-species communication through signaling by cis-2-unsaturated fatty acids of the diffusible signal factor (DSF) family. Sensing these signals leads to altered biofilm formation and increased tolerance to various antibiotics, and requires the histidine kinase PA1396. Here, we show that the membrane-associated sensory input domain of PA1396 has five transmembrane helices, two of which are required for DSF sensing. DSF binding is associated with enhanced auto-phosphorylation of PA1396 incorporated into liposomes. Further, we examined the ability of synthetic DSF analogues to modulate or inhibit PA1396 activity. Several of these analogues block the ability of DSF to trigger auto-phosphorylation and gene expression, whereas others act as inverse agonists reducing biofilm formation and antibiotic tolerance, both in vitro and in murine infection models. These analogues may thus represent lead compounds to develop novel adjuvants improving the efficacy of existing antibiotics.
Project description:Bacteria have evolved the ability to produce a wide range of structurally complex natural products historically called "secondary" metabolites. Although some of these compounds have been identified as bacterial communication cues, more frequently natural products are scrutinized for antibiotic activities that are relevant to human health. However, there has been little regard for how these compounds might otherwise impact the physiology of neighboring microbes present in complex communities. Bacillus cereus secretes molecules that activate expression of biofilm genes in Bacillus subtilis. Here, we use imaging mass spectrometry to identify the thiocillins, a group of thiazolyl peptide antibiotics, as biofilm matrix-inducing compounds produced by B. cereus. We found that thiocillin increased the population of matrix-producing B. subtilis cells and that this activity could be abolished by multiple structural alterations. Importantly, a mutation that eliminated thiocillin's antibiotic activity did not affect its ability to induce biofilm gene expression in B. subtilis. We go on to show that biofilm induction appears to be a general phenomenon of multiple structurally diverse thiazolyl peptides and use this activity to confirm the presence of thiazolyl peptide gene clusters in other bacterial species. Our results indicate that the roles of secondary metabolites initially identified as antibiotics may have more complex effects--acting not only as killing agents, but also as specific modulators of microbial cellular phenotypes.
Project description:The potential for microbes to overcome antibiotics of different classes before they reach bacterial cells is largely unexplored. Here we show that a soluble bacterial lipocalin produced by Burkholderia cenocepacia upon exposure to sublethal antibiotic concentrations increases resistance to diverse antibiotics in vitro and in vivo These phenotypes were recapitulated by heterologous expression in B. cenocepacia of lipocalin genes from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Purified lipocalin bound different classes of bactericidal antibiotics and contributed to bacterial survival in vivo Experimental and X-ray crystal structure-guided computational studies revealed that lipocalins counteract antibiotic action by capturing antibiotics in the extracellular space. We also demonstrated that fat-soluble vitamins prevent antibiotic capture by binding bacterial lipocalin with higher affinity than antibiotics. Therefore, bacterial lipocalins contribute to antimicrobial resistance by capturing diverse antibiotics in the extracellular space at the site of infection, which can be counteracted by known vitamins.IMPORTANCE Current research on antibiotic action and resistance focuses on targeting essential functions within bacterial cells. We discovered a previously unrecognized mode of general bacterial antibiotic resistance operating in the extracellular space, which depends on bacterial protein molecules called lipocalins. These molecules are highly conserved in most bacteria and have the ability to capture different classes of antibiotics outside bacterial cells. We also discovered that liposoluble vitamins, such as vitamin E, overcome in vitro and in vivo antibiotic resistance mediated by bacterial lipocalins, providing an unexpected new alternative to combat resistance by using this vitamin or its derivatives as antibiotic adjuvants.
Project description:Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) are promising novel alternatives to conventional antibacterial agents, but the overlap in resistance mechanisms between small-molecule antibiotics and CAPs is unknown. Does evolution of antibiotic resistance decrease (cross-resistance) or increase (collateral sensitivity) susceptibility to CAPs? We systematically addressed this issue by studying the susceptibilities of a comprehensive set of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli strains towards 24 antimicrobial peptides. Strikingly, antibiotic resistant bacteria frequently showed collateral sensitivity to CAPs, while cross-resistance was relatively rare. We identified clinically relevant multidrug resistance mutations that simultaneously elevate susceptibility to certain CAPs. Transcriptome and chemogenomic analysis revealed that such mutations frequently alter the lipopolysaccharide composition of the outer cell membrane and thereby increase the killing efficiency of membrane-interacting antimicrobial peptides. Furthermore, we identified CAP-antibiotic combinations that rescue the activity of existing antibiotics and slow down the evolution of resistance to antibiotics. Our work provides a proof of principle for the development of peptide based antibiotic adjuvants that enhance antibiotic action and block evolution of resistance. Overall design: 84 samples were collected from Escherichia coli lines adapted to one of 12 antibiotics as well as from non-adapted controls. Two parallel lines for each antibiotic were included in the assay. Sample groups contain 3 biological replicates.
Project description:The evolution of antibiotic resistance among bacteria threatens our continued ability to treat infectious diseases. The need for sustainable strategies to cure bacterial infections has never been greater. So far, all attempts to restore susceptibility after resistance has arisen have been unsuccessful, including restrictions on prescribing  and antibiotic cycling , . Part of the problem may be that those efforts have implemented different classes of unrelated antibiotics, and relied on removal of resistance by random loss of resistance genes from bacterial populations (drift). Here, we show that alternating structurally similar antibiotics can restore susceptibility to antibiotics after resistance has evolved. We found that the resistance phenotypes conferred by variant alleles of the resistance gene encoding the TEM ?-lactamase (bla(TEM)) varied greatly among 15 different ?-lactam antibiotics. We captured those differences by characterizing complete adaptive landscapes for the resistance alleles bla(TEM-50) and bla(TEM-85), each of which differs from its ancestor bla(TEM-1) by four mutations. We identified pathways through those landscapes where selection for increased resistance moved in a repeating cycle among a limited set of alleles as antibiotics were alternated. Our results showed that susceptibility to antibiotics can be sustainably renewed by cycling structurally similar antibiotics. We anticipate that these results may provide a conceptual framework for managing antibiotic resistance. This approach may also guide sustainable cycling of the drugs used to treat malaria and HIV.
Project description:Interference with antibiotic activity and its inactivation by bacterial modifying enzymes is a prevailing mode of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Aminoglycoside antibiotics become inactivated by aminoglycoside-6'-N-acetyltransferase-Ib [AAC(6')-Ib] of gram-negative bacteria which transfers an acetyl group from acetyl-CoA to the antibiotic. The aim of the study was to disrupt the enzymatic activity of AAC(6')-Ib by adjuvants and restore aminoglycoside activity as a result. The binding affinities of several vitamins and chemical compounds with AAC(6')-Ib of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Shigella sonnei were determined by molecular docking method to screen potential adjuvants. Adjuvants having higher binding affinity with target enzymes were further analyzed in-vitro to assess their impact on bacterial growth and bacterial modifying enzyme AAC(6')-Ib activity. Four compounds-zinc pyrithione (ZnPT), vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K-exhibited higher binding affinity to AAC(6')-Ib than the enzyme's natural substrate acetyl-CoA. Combination of each of these adjuvants with three aminoglycoside antibiotics-amikacin, gentamicin and kanamycin-were found to significantly increase the antibacterial activity against the selected bacterial species as well as hampering the activity of AAC(6')-Ib. The selection process of adjuvants and the use of those in combination with aminoglycoside antibiotics promises to be a novel area in overcoming bacterial resistance.
Project description:Quorum quenching, which disrupts quorum sensing (QS) by either degradation of QS signals or interference of signal generation or perception, is a promising strategy for the prevention and control of QS-mediated bacterial infections. Diffusible signal factor (DSF) is widely conserved in many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. In this study, we developed an efficient method for screening of highly active DSF degradation microorganisms. Among them, Pseudomonas sp. strain HS-18 showed a superior DSF degradation activity. Bioinformatics and genetic analyses showed that at least 4 genes, designated digA to digD, encoding fatty acyl coenzyme A ligase homologues, are responsible for DSF signal degradation. Interestingly, all 4 dig genes were induced by exogenous DSF, with digA being the most significantly induced. Expression of the dig genes in Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris markedly reduced the accumulation of endogenous DSF, decreased production of virulence factors, and attenuated bacterial virulence on host plants. Similarly, application of strain HS-18 as a biocontrol agent could substantially reduce the disease severity caused by X. campestris pv. campestris These results unveil the molecular basis of a highly efficient DSF degradation bacterial isolate and present useful genes and biocontrol agents for control of the infectious diseases caused by DSF-dependent bacterial pathogens.IMPORTANCE Diffusible signal factor (DSF) represents a family of widely conserved quorum sensing signals involved in the regulation of virulence factor production in many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. In this study, we developed a novel and efficient method for screening highly active DSF degradation microorganisms. With this method, we identified a bacterial isolate, Pseudomonas sp. strain HS-18, with a superb DSF degradation activity. We further found that strain HS-18 contains 4 genes responsible for DSF signal degradation, and significantly, these were induced by exogenous DSF molecules. These findings unveil the molecular basis of a highly efficient DSF degradation bacterial isolate and present useful methods, genes, and agents for control of the infectious diseases caused by DSF-dependent bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Bacillus cereus is widely distributed in different food products and can cause a variety of symptoms associated with food poisoning. Since ready-to-eat (RTE) foods are not commonly sterilized by heat treatment before consumption, B. cereus contamination may cause severe food safety problems. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of B. cereus in RTE food samples from different regions of China and evaluated the levels of bacterial contamination, antibiotic resistance, virulence gene distribution, and genetic polymorphisms of these isolates. Of the tested retail RTE foods, 35% were positive for B. cereus, with 39 and 83% of the isolated strains harboring the enterotoxin-encoding hblACD and nheABC gene clusters, respectively. The entFM gene was detected in all B. cereus strains. The cytK gene was present in 68% of isolates, but only 7% harbored the emetic toxin-encoding gene cesB. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that the majority of the isolates were resistant not only to most ?-lactam antibiotics, but also to rifamycin. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) revealed that the 368 isolates belonged to 192 different sequence types (STs) including 93 new STs, the most prevalent of which was ST26. Collectively, our study indicates the prevalence, bacterial contamination levels, and biological characteristics of B. cereus isolated from RTE foods in China and demonstrates the potential hazards of B. cereus in RTE foods.
Project description:Rapid delivery of proper antibiotic therapies to infectious disease patients is essential for improving patient outcomes, decreasing hospital lengths-of-stay, and combating the antibiotic resistance epidemic. Antibiotic stewardship programs are designed to address these issues by coordinating hospital efforts to rapidly deliver the most effective antibiotics for each patient, which requires bacterial identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). Despite the clinical need for fast susceptibility testing over a wide range of antibiotics, conventional phenotypic AST requires overnight incubations, and new rapid phenotypic AST platforms restrict the number of antibiotics tested for each patient. Here, we introduce a novel approach to AST based on signal amplification of bacterial surfaces that enables phenotypic AST within 5?hours for non-fastidious bacteria. By binding bacterial surfaces, this novel method allows more accurate measurements of bacterial replication in instances where organisms filament or swell in response to antibiotic exposure. Further, as an endpoint assay performed on standard microplates, this method should enable parallel testing of more antibiotics than is currently possible with available automated systems. This technology has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice by providing rapid and accurate phenotypic AST data for virtually all available antibiotics in a single test.